A First for Literature from the Faculty of Economics: COVID-19 Report With its Economic, Social and Political Effects

While continuing its leadership in medical studies related to the COVID-19 pandemic, İstanbul University demonstrates its awareness of bringing solutions to this process, which affects the world in every respect, by approaching it with different disciplines. And İstanbul University fulfills its social responsibility with the scientific work which it offers for the benefit of humanity. A new one of these studies was carried out by experienced academicians of IU Faculty of Economics, as a product of deep knowledge and big effort. In this report, “COVID-19 Outbreak- Economic, Social and Political Implications and Suggestions for Turkey”; COVID-19's economic, social, political, technological aspects and their impact on democracy was presented in depth examining the proposals. The Dean of İstanbul University Faculty of Economics and the editor of the study, Prof. Dr. Sayım Yorgun gave information about the report and made some evaluations

İstanbul University Faculty of Economics has done an extensive study on the COVID-19 pandemic. The report entitled “COVID-19 Outbreak's Economic, Social and Political Effects and Suggestions for Turkey” consists of 21 topics written by 24 academics. The editorial faculty members are, from the Faculty of Economics; Prof. Dr. Dilek Demirbaş, Prof. Dr. Veysel Bozkurt and Prof. Dr. Sayım Yorgun. “What would be the effects of COVID-19 outbreak on the social, political and technological fields in the world; what kind of changes are expected on a global scale, and which positive and negative conversion will take place in Turkey and in the World”, is forming research questions of the study.

“The Heritage We Have Gives Big Responsibility to Us”

Stating that the success of countries in the fight against the epidemic was handled comparatively in the study and the anxiety experienced by the society was examined by scientific methods. Prof. Dr. Sayım Yorgun said, “In our report that was started with the historical process of the epidemic, we focused on the following points: ‘The effects of the outbreak’ on economic life and the business life; the labor market and the global supply chain; globalization and economic growth; fiscal policy; democracy; the market share of businesses, on the tourism industry, on the female labor, social policy, international politics and politics of Turkey; the technological transformation and digitalisation. We also focused on the effects on blockchain and the digital transformation in higher education”.

Prof. Dr. Yorgun stated that İstanbul University, which has existed since 1453, is Turkey's most important research university, and the Faculty of Economics is Turkey's first Economics Faculty. Prof. Dr. Yorgun said that this historical heritage put great responsibilities on them, and added: “Because we have this historical heritage, it was not possible to remain silent and watch the pandemic, which affects the world and our country, causing economic, social and political changes”.

“Universities are the Locomotive of the Material and Spiritual Development”

Prof. Dr. Yorgun said that their goal is to fulfill the main duties of the universities; research, publication and informing the society. Prof. Dr. Yorgun said, “Universities are the locomotive of the material and spiritual development which builds civilizations. With this report, we aimed to be a pioneer and fulfill the role of lighting”.

“The Difference of Our Report, Academics from Different Disciplines Working Together”

Continuing his speech by evaluating the importance of this work, Prof. Dr. Yorgun said that the Faculty of Economics is a university in terms of its 84 years of experience and capacity. Prof. Dr. Yorgun said: “Because we had compilation of knowledge, we concluded this study under difficult conditions and in a short period. We started working with our editors Prof. Dr. Dilek Demirbaş and Prof. Dr. Veysel Bozkurt. First of all, we determined the main subject areas and we contacted our professors who are experts in these subjects and completed the study in a short time, which is a month. The most important feature of this report is that teachers from many different disciplines came together and addressed different topics. Some studies on the effects of the outbreak have been published, but these studies either focused on historical processes or examined the economic effects of the outbreak. In this report, teachers from different disciplines worked together and the studies completed each other. All of the topics are covered with scientific discipline seriousness and understanding that brings together parts of a whole”.

A First for the Literature

Underlining that a study was brought to literature for the first time in this context by İstanbul University Faculty of Economics; Prof. Dr. Yorgun continued his speech as follows: “While most of the studies on the effects of COVID-19 are based on estimates and determinations; some of the studies in our report are based on quantitative and qualitative research methods and analytical data collection techniques”.

We have a dynamic structure that takes advantage of the blessings of the digital age and we reflect the advantages of this in our work. In the upcoming period, these issues will be brought to the agenda in the departments, will be the subject of projects, and will even enter the curricula of faculties. Because there are transformations in many areas. It is our duty to detect this transformation, to be ready for the transformation, to adapt and to direct the transformation”

“Our Contributions to the World of Science Will Continue”

Prof. Dr Yorgun noted that they prepared the report as a preliminary study and that they will carry out the process with new studies, projects and publications that will complete and deepen this study in the coming days. Prof. Dr. Yorgun said, the topics in the study will be subject to the master and doctoral theses in the future, and as the data emerges, both existing researches will be renewed, and new researches will be conducted. He said; “Our state and nation will benefit from these studies, our contributions to the world of science will continue”.

Outbreaks are Humanity's Largest Problem after Scarcity and Wars

Prof. Dr. Yorgun pointed out that the third problem that worries humanity most after the famine and wars in history is the epidemics. And people should be prepared by seeing the fact that one of the biggest dangers waiting for humanity in the future will be epidemic diseases. Prof. Dr. Yorgun said, “The fact that countries with the largest economies in the world are incapable of providing the most basic protection materials needed in the fight against the epidemic, choosing patients for treatment and leaving others to die, the fact that the existing systems have no coffins and burial places to carry the dying people, reveal the humanity level of the present systems clearly”.

"Needing the Leadership of Universities is High"

Prof. Dr. Yorgun underlined that the pandemic is difficult to understand with the current economic systems and the expectation that the cost of the crisis will increase to 7.2 trillion dollars. He also stated that what happened in the economic and social fields showed that there was a need for a paradigm change. The expectation for paradigm change is growing.“Instead of the perception of limitless needs that feeds the insatiability and obesity; the expectation for a paradigm change that will build a new economic order based on the principle that the needs are limited and that the wishes can be limited, that resources other than knowledge are limited, is increasing”. In order to overcome the crisis, process with the least damage, it is necessary to restructure the industries and labor markets by fighting together in solidarity, focusing on global cooperation and focusing on reconstructing the emerging business lines and professions. The need for our universities to play a leading role in this process is quite high. We have to work hard and do more research. On this occasion, I would like to thank once again to our academics who contributed to the report and to our management, especially our Rector”.

There are 6 Sections and 24 Signatures in the Report

In the report entitled, "COVID-19 Outbreak's Economic, Social and Political Effects and Suggestions for Turkey" there are 6 sections. They are: “History and Effects of Epidemic Diseases”, “COVID-19 and Economic Effects”, “COVID-19 and Social Effects”, “COVID-19 and Political Effects”, “COVID-19 and Technological Effects” and “The Future of the Epidemic”. So, basically it consists of 6 parts.

In the report the following names have the studies: Professors of İstanbul University Faculty of Economics, Prof. Dr. Yüksel Bayraktar, Prof. Dr. Veysel Bozkurt, Prof. Dr. Meltem Delen, Prof. Dr. Dilek Demirbaş, Prof. Dr. Dündar Mehmet Demiröz, Prof. Dr. Ahmet İncekara, Prof. Dr. Gökhan Karabulut, Prof. Dr. Yunus Kaya, Prof. Dr. Halim Kazan, Prof. Dr. Umut Omay, Prof. Dr. Halil Tunalı, Prof. Dr. Metin Toprak, Prof. Dr. Sayim Yorgun, Assoc. Dr. Başak Işıl Alpar, Assoc .Dr. Gürel Çetin, Assoc. Dr. Ömer Karaoğlu, Assoc. Dr. Çiğdem Börke Tunalı, Assoc .Dr. Murat Ustaoğlu, Assoc. Dr. Haluk Zülfikar, Dr. Ziya Erdem, Dr. Süleyman Güder, Dr. Sevinç Göktepe, Res. Assistant Ferda Karagöz and the Ph.D. student Ayfer Özyılmaz.
World Countries Do Not Know What to Do for the First Time in a Long Time

The report started with the emphasis that the COVID-19 pandemic caught humanity unprepared. And it is stated that at a time when science and technology are developing at a dazzling scale, the epidemic has undermined economic and social life at all, and that it deeply affects public health both in spiritual and physical context. In addition to the fact that billions of people around the world are closed to their homes and that economic activities have come to a complete standstill in some sectors; it is stated that the successive supply and demand shocks cause fluctuations and shrinkage in all areas from production to consumption, from transportation to supply chains, from trade to finance. The report also emphasizes that the scenarios created are determined by the availability of the vaccine and that the countries of the world have not known what to do for the first time in a long time.

There is No Correlation Between Economic Income and the Success in the COVID-19 Challenge

Detailed analysis was carried out in the report, while important research was carried out and striking results were reached. One of these results is that there is no correlation between countries' economic revenues and their level of success in the fight against COVID-19. A surprising result was that the increased levels of development of countries were associated with the decline of that country's combat performance with COVID-19. The findings show that Turkey's factual performance is considerably higher than the world performance average. Besides Turkey; the positive performance values of Japan, South Korea, Israel, Australia and Canada in the fight against COVID-19 are also remarkable.

The relationship between countries' levels of democracy and those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic was another subject of review. The review, which dealt with countries with 100 and above cases on March 10, 2020, found no relationship between democracy and the spread of COVID-19. Claims that countries with high levels of democracy are in a more fragile position against the outbreak have been found to be untrue.

The Cost of the Pandemic to the World is $ 7.2 Trillion

In the report, it is said that the cost of the pandemic to the world economy will be 7.2 trillion dollars, it was predicted that it will continue at least in the medium and long term after the short-term decline of globalization, and that EU countries will emerge from this process by identifying their deficiencies and inadequacies throughout the epidemic.

Differences of COVID-19 from Other Pandemics

The COVID-19 pandemic was revealed to be different from previous pandemics and crises due to the following characteristics it has:
• It is a global pandemic.
* It is not intensified in low and middle income countries.
* It emerged at a time when interest rates were quite low in the world.
* It emerged at a time when the world was very economically integrated.
* It leads to spreading effects on supply chains.
* It has devastating effects on both supply and demand.

Tourism Sector in Crisis

While a contraction of at least 1.5 percent is expected in the world economy in 2020, it is stated that strategic products and services are changing, and production will be localized to meet basic needs. The outbreak could also leave 75 million people unemployed worldwide in the tourism industry and cause a loss of travel and tourism gross domestic product up to $ 2.1 trillion in the world by 2020. It is also quoted by the World Tourism Organisation as predicting that international tourist visits will be 20-30 percent less than forecast in January 2020.

Working Woman's Burden Increased

Another striking result in the report is that quarantine brought about by the pandemic has eliminated the possibility of outsourcing childcare, cleaning and food for women working online, and has greatly increased the burden of working women. New jobs added to jobs women do under normal circumstances were listed in the report:
* Monitoring, encouragement, control, and feedback of distance education processes of children living in the household.
* Care, shopping, management and organization of hygiene conditions of family members and relatives who have been curfewed, who live or do not live in the household (under the age of 20, over 65 or have chronic illness) and who do not go out on within the scope of the measure.
* Preparation of meals at home as a precaution and the expiration date of the foods and the follow-up of the stock.
* Increased responsibility for hygiene and sterilization.
* Organization of work that should be carried out from home if currently working women have switched to home work system.

38 Percent of the World's Work Force is in Danger of Unemployment

The report also included determinations on unemployment and working life. Declining demand for goods and services, cutting the supply chain, quarantine and travel restrictions, and new regulations on work schedules have led to drastic declines in working hours. The 1.25 billion workers who are working in leading sectors such as accommodation, food services, retail and manufacturing and who make up 38 percent of the world's labor force are directly facing unemployment risks due to the epidemic.

The Sectors that Will Suffer the Most from the Pandemic

The Sectors that will suffer the most from pandemic are; accommodation and food services; travel agency, tour operator other reservation services and related services; creative arts, performing arts and entertainment services; library, archive, museum and other cultural services; betting services, sports services, entertainment and leisure services and airline transportation services. The report predicted that there would be a 7.2 percent decrease in added value and a 10.7 percent decrease in employment.

While it was determined that the COVID-19 crisis, which is expected to last until October, will cause a loss of at least $ 25 billion in direct and multiplier effects to tourism in Turkey. It will result in a double loss of income. It has been emphasized that the unemployment of employees; short and long term unemployment is the most fundamental problem.

So, What Could Be the Solution?

The report, in which the analyses for the problems were put forward in detail in the light of the scientific data, also included suggestions for solutions for which detailed determinations were made. Here are some topics on the resolution proposals detailed in the report:
* The problem of global governance must be solved.
* The global monetary system must be reformed.
* The need for reorganization has increased in nation states.
* Blockchain technology can be implemented as an alternative.
* There is a need for fiscal policies in Turkey.
* Digital solutions for the continuation of economic activities should be implemented by aligning economic performance with digital transformation in Turkey.
* Turkish tourism should focus on restructuring.
* The need for social policies is increasing and new practices are needed.

Anxiety and Fear are Rising in Turkey

According to the results of a study carried out within the scope of the report, concerns and fears are growing in Turkey as in other countries. The research, which represents predominantly urban, educated, middle and upper middle classes, reveals the following results:

* 51.32 percent of employees in the private sector are worried about losing their jobs.
* 32.8 percent of those who say they are doing their job are worried about losing their job.
* 39.2 percent of respondents expressed concern about starvation or not being able to meet their needs in the next two months.
* 81 percent of respondents say the way they do their jobs has changed:
* 42 percent said “I am unable to do my daily work”,
* About 65 percent of people said, " My unrest has increased”,
* 31 percent said “I've lost my sense of control over my life”,
* 53 percent said " My Sleep Quality has deteriorated”,
* 41 percent “have constant fear of catching viruses”,
* 39 percent replied,” I feel constant tiredness and exhaustion."
* In the investigations carried out within the scope of the research, it was determined that approximately 72 percent of the family members (except pensioners, unemployed, etc.) of the population actually working before the outbreak of the disease went out and worked full time, partially, or alternately out of the household. It was also revealed that on average 56 per cent of these households had a minimum of one individual going out of the home every day.
* 57 percent of respondents, including students, stated that their jobs were suitable for working in the home office/online.
* 72 percent of respondents favored the promotion of online work.

News: Tuğçe AYÇİN
Translation: Yasemin UĞURLU
İU Department of Corporate Communication

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